Julia Gillard has warned Israeli politicians of her “mounting concern” over settlement policies that she says will not help achieve a two-state solution.
The former prime minister weighed in to the sensitive Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a lecture titled “Reflections on a Life of Purpose’’ before receiving an honorary doctorate from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev overnight.
“Like so many other supporters of Israel around the world, I have watched with mounting concern some of the political discussion in Israel which is inconsistent with achieving a two-state solution,” Ms Gillard said in an excerpt of her speech, published by the university.
“I have become concerned that policies about settlements today will create long-lived problems for achieving that peace.
“What is the alternative? An unending security situation that is not in Israel’s best interest. I do not come with a plan or a blueprint but a state of mind.”
Israel’s bill that retroactively legalises unlawful Jewish settlements on privately-owned Palestinian land has stoked unease within the Labor Party.
Former ALP foreign ministers and prime ministers — including Kevin Rudd, Bob Hawke, Bob Carr and Gareth Evans — also sparked division after advocating a change in foreign policy and recognition of a Palestinian state ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic visit to Australia in February.
Read the full article by Rosie Lewis at The Australian (subscription only).